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Chitragupta (Sanskrit: चित्रगुप्त, 'rich in secrets' or 'hidden picture') is a Hindu god assigned with the task of keeping complete records of actions of human beings on the earth. Upon their death, Chitragupta has the task of deciding heaven or the hell for the humans, depending on their actions on the earth. Chitragupta Maharaj (Chitragupta the Kshatriya King) is the patron deity of Kayasthas, a Hindu caste of India and Nepal.
|Mantra||ॐ श्री चित्रगुप्ताय नमः
(Oṃ shri chitraguptaay Namaḥ)
Katani (Ink) & sword
|Consort||Dakshina Nandini, Erawati Shobhawati|
Lord Brahma had many various sons and daughters in various myth structures, including many seers born of his mind, such as Vashishta, Narada, and Atri, and many sons born of his body, such as Dharma, Delusion, Lust, Death, and Bharata. The story of the birth of Chitragupta is related in different ways, but he is nearly always delineated differently from the other children of Lord Brahma, and a common thread is that many Rishi's are born directly of Lord Brahma’s body.
In one popular version of the creation myth of Chitragupta, it is said that Lord Brahma gave the land of the dead over to the god Yama, also known as Dharamraj or Yamraj. Yama would become confused sometimes when dead souls would come to him, and would occasionally send the wrong souls to either heaven or hell. Lord Brahma commanded him to keep better track of everyone, and Yama declared that he could not reasonably be expected to keep track of the many people born of the eighty-four hundred thousand different life forms of planet Earth.
Lord Brahma, determined to solve this problem for Yama, sat in meditation for many thousands of years. Finally he opened his eyes, and a man stood before him with a pen and paper. As Chitragupta was born of Brahma's body or kaya in Sanskrit, Brahma declared that his children would forever be known as Kayasthas. Chitragupta is sometimes also referred to as the first man to use letters, and is hailed that way in the Garud Puran. He is known as being incredibly meticulous, and with his pen and paper he tracks every action of every sentient life form, building up a record of them over the course of their life so that when they die the fate of their soul can be easily determined. These perfect and complete documents are referred to in mystical traditions as the Akashic records, and as they contain the actions of each person from birth to death, they can be said to contain every action taken in the universe.
Items associated with Chitragupta in his puja include the paper and pen, ink, honey, betel nut, matches, mustard, sugar, sandalwood, and frankincense. A puja is often performed to Chitragupta in reverence of the four virtues he is seen to embody: justice, peace, literacy, and knowledge. Part of the Chitragupta puja also includes writing down how much money you make in your household, and how much you need to make to survive in the following year, while making offerings of turmeric, flowers, and vermilion
First Wife: Nandini Aravati, Grand daughter of Sun God and daughter of Shraddhdev Muni. Sons from her:
- Dhramdhwaja, he founded Srivastava Kayastha
- Dhramyuj, he founded Gaur Kayastha
- Samdayalu, he founded Saxena Kayastha
- Yugandhar, he founded Mathur Kayastha
Second wife: Shobhvati, daughter of Susharma Rishi.
- Sumti, he founded Karan Kayastha
- Damodar, he founded Nigam Kayastha
- Bhanuprakash, he founded Bhatnagar Kayastha
- Yugandhar, he founded Ambashtha Kayastha
- Dindayalu, he founded Asthana Kayastha
- Sadanand, he founded Kulshreshtha Kayastha
- Raghavram, he founded Valmiki Kayastha
- Vibhanu, he founded Surajdhwaj Kayastha
All Kayastha are descendants of Brahma hence all are Brahmins.
- According to the Vedic scriptures, the souls of men after death receive rewards and punishments according to their sins and virtues, and hence it is believed that good and bad deeds of men are not destroyed. The souls of men after death go to Yamapuri, which is presided over by the deities called Yamas who keep records of men's actions and accordingly give them their dues. The principal Yama is called Yamaraja or Dharamaraja, that is, the ruler of Yamapuri or the king of laws.
- The Yama Samhita, an extract from the 9th chapter of Ahilya Kamdhenu, a work of Hindu Law, says that Dharamaraja complained to Lord Brahma about his difficulties in performing his most responsible duties of keeping records of the deeds of men and doing justice to them. Lord Brahma went into meditation. Chitragupta sprang from his body and stood before him bearing an inkpot and a pen. The god Brahma (creator) said: "Because you are sprung from my body (kaya), therefore you shall be called Kayastha and as you existed in my body unseen I give you the name of Chitragupta." He then assumed charge of Yamapuri. Dharmaraja married his daughter Irawati to Chitragupta and Sraddhadeva Manu(Manu), son of Surya (the Sun) married his daughter Sudakhina(some people say dakshina or nandini) to him." Chitragupta had eight sons from the former and. four from the latter and these twelve sons became the progenitors of the twelve subdivisions of the Chitraguptavansi Kayasthas, namely Saxena, Mathur, Gaur, Nigam, Ashthana, Kulshrestha, Suryadwaja, Bhatnagar, Ambastha, Shrivastava, Karna and Vaalmik.
- Padma Purana after stating the legend says: "Chitragupta was placed near Dharamaraj to register the good and evil actions of all sentient beings, that he was possessed of supernatural wisdom and became the partaker of sacrifices offered to the gods and fire. It is for this reason that the twice-born always give him oblations from their food. As he sprang from the body of Lord Brahma he was called Kayastha of numerous gotras on the face of the earth."
- Bhavishya Purana states that God, the Creator, gave the name and duties of Chitragupta as follows: Because you have sprung from my body, therefore, you shall be called Kayastha and shall be famous in the world by the name of Chitragupta. Oh my son, let your residence be always in the region of the God of justice for the purpose of determining the merits and demerits of men.
- Vignana Tantra says the same thing.
- The same is the enjoinment of Lord Brahma to Chitragupta according to Brihat Brahma Khanda. He was named Kayastha having sprung from the body (kaya) of Lord Brahma. He was directed to perform all sanskars and to have writing as his profession.
- Garuda Purana describes the imperial throne of Chitragupta in Yamapuri holding his Court and dispensing justice according to the deeds of men and maintaining their record, in the following words: (There Dharmaraja, Chitragupta, Sravana and others see all sins and virtues remaining concealed in the bodies of men).
- The Mahabharata (Anusasan Parva, chapter 130) recites the teaching of Chitragupta requiring men to do virtuous and charitable acts and performing Yagya, saying that men are rewarded or punished according to their good or bad deeds.
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Chitragupta came into being after Brahma, the creator, having established the four varnas — Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra — ordained Dharamraj (also called Yamraj, the god of death) to keep record of the deeds — good and evil — of all life-forms born and yet to be born on earth, in the heavens above and in the lands below. Dharamraj, however, complained, "O Lord, how can I alone keep record of the deeds of the beings born into 84 lakh yonis (life-forms) in the three worlds"
Brahma went into meditation for 11, 000 years and when he opened his eyes he saw a man holding pen and ink-pot in his hands and a sword girdled to his waist. Brahma spoke: "Thou hast been created from my body (Kaya), therefore shall thy progeny be known as the Kayasthas. Thou hast been conceived in my mind (Chitra) and in secrecy (gupta), thy name shall also be Chitragupta." Brahma then enjoined him to dispense justice and punish those who violated the dharma.
In the Garuda Purana, Chitragupta is hailed as the first man to give the script.
- Chitragupta namastubhyam vedaksaradatre
- (Obeisance to Chitragupta, the giver of letters)
In the legends of Chitragupta as well as in the Vedas, he is referred to as the greatest king, while the rest are "Rajakas," or little kings.
चित्र इद राजा राजका इदन्यके यके सरस्वतीमनु।
पर्जन्य इव ततनद धि वर्ष्ट्या सहस्रमयुता ददत॥ RIG VEDA Book 8/ Hymn 21/ Stanza 18
The Rig Veda mentions an invocation to be made to Chitragupta before offering sacrifice. There is also a special invocation to Chitragupta as Dharmraj (Lord of Justice) to be made at the performance of shradh or other rituals. "Om tat purushaya vidmahe Chitragupta dhimahi tena lekha prachodayata."
The priests also pay reverence to Chitragupta: "Yamam Dharmarajya Chitraguptaya vain namah."
Chitragupta is the Athi Devathai for Ketu, one of the Navagrahas, and those who worship Chitragupta, would be bestowed with prosperity. Also the evil effects of Ketu during its transit period would be mitigated.
The birthday of Chitragupta is celebrated on Yama Dwitiya and Chitraguptajayanti Puja is performed on this day.
A more than 300-year-old very famous temple of Shri Chitra Gupta is located in the centre of city in Alwar, Alwar, Rajasthan where an annual fair is held for darshan and worship of chitraguptaji, between Dhantriyodashi to Yam Dwitia in the Hindu month of Kartic(October–November).to celebrate the chitragupta jayanti, on Yam Dwitiya.
There are numerous temples for Chitraguptaji Maharaj. Notable temples of Chitraguptaji Maharaj:
- Chitragupta Mahadeva devalayam - temple in Hyderabad, stated to be 250 years old, (near Kandikal Gate, opp to Chatrinaka Police Station), Falaknama, Hyderabad 
Chitragupta Mandir on the Bank of KOEL River on Chitragpta Ghat, Daltonganj, Medininagar (Palamau), JHARKHAND. A group of Kayastha Pariwar built a temple where a beautiful Chitrugupta Maharaj statue is established in the centre of the temple.
- Chitragupta ji Maharaj temple on the bank of Gandak river on Chitragupta ghat in Hajipur, Bihar
- Chitragupta Ji Maharaj with his 12 sons are established in Sewak Sanjaynath Tantrik Kali Mandir, Raxaul, Bihar
- Chitragupta Ji Maharaj with his 2 wives and 12 sons are established in Sewak Sanjaynath Kali Nyas Dusmaha Vidhy Mandir,Byepass Road, 70 feet Patna, Bihar.
- Chitragupta ji Maharaj temple at Chhata chauk in muzaffarpur, Bihar
- Madhya Pradesh
- Chitragupta temple, Khajuraho
- Ram Janardan temple and another Shri Chitragptaji temple at the bank of Shipra River at Ram Ghat, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
- Foota Tal - Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh,
- Bhatnagar Sabha - Udaipur, a group of Kayastha devotees has built a grand temple of Chitragupt in Udaipur, Rajasthan
- A more than 300-year-old famous temple of Shri Chitra Gupta is located in the centre of city in Alwar, where an annual fair is held for darshan and worship of Chitragupta, between Dhantriyodashi to Yam Dwitia in the Hindu month of Kartic (October–November). It is situated between Munshibazar and Delhi Gate, in Alwar, Rajasthan
- Kayastha sabha Pratap nagar (Society), [Jaipur] a group of Kayastha devotees has built a temple of Shri Chitragupt Mander, sec-8, Pratap Nagar Jaipur in, Rajasthan
- Tamil Nadu
- Chitragupta temple, Kanchipuram is the oldest temple in South India dedicated to Chitragupta is located at Kanchipuram. Archaeologist have confirmed based on the inscriptions that the temple was built during the 9th century by the Medieval Cholas.
- Uttar Pradesh
- Dharma-hari-chitra gupta temple (even worshiped by lord Ram, according to legendary belief), Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh
- Chitragupta Mandir: This temple is situated at about 5 km from railway station, in the heart of the city in front of Jubilee Inter College, Baxipur, Gorakhpur. The foundation of the temple was laid by Justice Vindhyavasini Prasad in the year 1965. The temple has a beautiful architecture and opens for public from 8am-5pm on all days.
- Lucknow 
- Chitragupta Mandir Rae Bareli is a famous temple. Every year on the day of Yamdutiya, a bhavya shobha yatra is organised here. This temple was built by Vijay Kumar Srivastav, a famous personality of Rae Bareli.
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